Carnival Cruise Line hosted a sail away party at Port Tampa Bay today to mark the line’s inaugural cruise to Havana, Cuba, aboard the Carnival Paradise.
The event was a celebration of Cuban culture, music, cuisine and libations, featuring the “World’s Largest Cuban Sandwich at Sea” and a $25,000 charity donation to Tampa’s Ybor City Museum Society, according to Carnival.
Attendees included Carnival Cruise Line Executive Vice President of Guest Shipboard Operations Gus Antorcha, representatives of Port Tampa Bay, Ybor City Museum Society and invited guests.
The voyage marks the first of 12 four- and five-day cruises, each with a daytime and overnight call at Havana to provide vacationers a rare and exciting opportunity to explore the fascinating and historic destination. Additional cruises in the series depart July 13, Aug. 14, 24 and 28, Sept. 7, 21 and 25, Oct. 5, 9 and 19, 2017; as well as May 3, 2018. Five-day voyages add a stop in either Cozumel, Mexico; or Key West, Florida.
“Carnival is the only cruise line with a year-round ship in Tampaand we have a long-standing partnership with the local community, so it is exciting that we are inaugurating our cruises featuring Havana from this city with its very large Cuban population and strong affinity for Cuban culture,” said Antorcha. “Cruising is a fantastic and convenient way to visit Cuba and we are seeing tremendous demand for these cruises from consumers as well as our travel agent partners who are sharing this exciting new vacation option with their clients.”
Added Paul Anderson, president & CEO, Port Tampa Bay, “We are extremely honored that Carnival has selected Port Tampa Bay to offer cruises to Havana, Cuba and excited for the travel community that this fantastic new destination is now available. Carnival’s commitment to serving our market for nearly a quarter of a century is a testament to the strong support they receive from our community. And, in return, the economic impact of their Tampa operation is substantial considering a single call from an average size cruise ship generates more than $350,000 in direct economic contribution to our community.”